What Cicero can Teach us about Persuasion and Public Speaking
by Owen Fitzpatrick
Public speaking is an art form that many would love to master. Whether you need to give a best man’s speech at your brother’s wedding or you must present an idea at the monthly network meeting, public speaking is a skill many people seek. At present, since I’m busy just having launched the upcoming Charisma Bootcamp, I thought I’d share some thoughts on the matter.
Cicero was a politician of ancient Rome who is widely known for his prowess at public speaking and rhetoric. Having studied some of the greatest speakers from Greece at the time, Cicero became a powerful figure largely through his ability to inspire and move his audience. So, what are some of the keys we can learn from Cicero and his skills of oratory?
Cicero explained that there were five elements important to consider when creating a speech and making an argument. They are:
Let’s go through each one and explore how we can use this system.
This is exactly what it sounds like. The first key is to ask yourself the question what is the goal of your speech? When you create anything, that is a good question to ask. Once you identify what you want, the next step is to list out all the different ideas or concepts that might help you make this happen. It is a good idea to figure out what is the message you want to deliver to the audience.
This is how you structure your speech. This is broken up into Introduction, Main Body and Conclusion. Your Introduction should introduce your message, establish your credibility and connect with the audience. It should also capture their attention from the outset. You main body should share fact, evidence, stories, examples using both logic and emotion to influence your audience. You should acknowledge any arguments which counteract your one and dismiss them using logic and reason. The conclusion should then drill home your message and leave them with a good feeling connected to it.
This is how you write or prepare your speech. The words you use must fulfill the following criteria. They must be simply put, clear, vivid, fit with the expectations of and in the same language as the audience and lastly, the words must sound good out loud. When you read out what you have written you will get a good sense of what sounds good and what doesn’t.
This reflects how you manage to remember the key concepts. It is a good idea to practice creating hooks that you attach each idea to. This means try to fit your speech into a story or connect the main concepts to a mind map or picture. This allows you to use a device to immediately remind you of what the next part of the speech is. Often powerpoint or keynote can suffice here.
This is how you actually deliver the speech. Your facial expressions, eye contact and use of your voice are key factors in presenting your speech powerfully. When you tell a story of something that made you cringe, cringe when you talk about it. During your speech keep making eye contact with the audience and stay a few seconds on each of them. Use variety in your tone of voice and pace of speech. Make sure that when you make an important point you slow down and emphasize the point.
So, let’s take the example of making a best man speech.
Owen Fitzpatrick is an inspiring, engaging and entertaining speaker NLP Master Trainer, specialized in Charisma, co-author of 'Conversations with Dr. Richard Bandler' , co- author of ‘Choose Freedom’, an international bestseller. ‘Not Enough Hours’, a bestseller in the Irish Times Bookcharts and ‘NLP for Charisma’. Owen was the presenter and expert of the primetime show ‘Not Enough Hours’. He is co-founder of the Irish Institute of NLP along with Brian Colbert. Founder of the Online Charisma Training Academy", and author of the soon to published book "The Charismatic Edge," as a trainer Owen is one of the most well respected authorities in the area of NLP: www.owenfitzpatrick.com
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